Archive for January, 2008

Generation Next

I’ve been scouring the island for a job since the new year started and, it pains me to say, I’m still unemployed. At this age, I can’t imagine why it should be so difficult for me to find one. It’s not like I’m slacking off or anything. I had about twenty resumes and cover letters printed out and put together a brand new portfolio with my latest design work and distributed most of this to around 25 different employers by now. Sure, I’m waiting on a few callbacks but I’m goddamn tired of being broke. Maybe my previous job history and extreme work ethics have something to do with it…

Peter Sheahan’s five tips for surviving with Generation Y:

1. Show them the value of their contribution. Do this by separating the distance between effort and reward. Offer immediate rewards for good work. This could include movie tickets, an early mark or simply a pat on the back.

2. Focus on what’s useful. Generation Y are going to question why? It is in their nature to challenge authority and the age-old way of doing things if they think there is a better, more efficient or more cost-effective way of achieving the same outcome. If they can still meet their targets while doing things their way, let them.

3. Communicate outcomes. Generation Y demand that you prove to them the value of knowing the information/taking the job/doing the work/whatever. Try to position their tasks and responsibilities so that there is a clear benefit at an individual level.

4. Connect with your team. The most commonly cited cause of attrition for Generation Y is that they don’t like their boss or immediate supervisor. Young employees expect more than job security and fair compensation. They’re after a work experience that they enjoy. They want to feel a part of something bigger, to have a connection to their place of work and the world at large, and have a mentor to guide them. The manager who builds a relationship with their staff is in the best position to make all that a reality.

5. Build their resume. Generation Y expect you to invest in their future regardless of whether they plan to stay with the organisation long-term. They demand to be taught transferrable skills, skills that they can then build upon in their future employment. It is up to you to build their resume by providing the opportunities to broaden their skill base and then show them that the skills they are learning are valued in the marketplace.

Yeah. That’s about where I fit in. They always told me I had a problem with authority but maybe, after reading that, it should come as no surprise at all.


Friday, 25 January, 2008 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

Seeing Green

Excessive? Yeah… I guess so.

I can’t help it though. There’s a plethora of information out there surrounding veganism, environmentalism, animal rights and the sort and I’m still finding things out that utterly shock me. It’s crazy. People just need to know what’s going on and we’ve all been so miseducated for so long by the powers that be that it’s left our world in a sobering state of underlying panic. It’s about time the truth was out and, I suppose, I’ve taken my rightful place in the march of progress towards that great truth. More and more people are discovering the benefits (for themselves as well as the entire planet) of living a greener life and it’s truly a positive motion. I’m very proud to be a part of it all. It’s due time the corporate brown-nosers of the baby boomer generation stepped off the plate and made room for the blossoming and intelligent albeit rebellious Generation Y.

Now that I’ve made myself out to look like some demented extremist with that little speech, maybe I’ll move onto another subject for the day. But what else can you expect from a interracial, bisexual, polyamourous, transgendered, 24yr-old vegan?

Friday, 25 January, 2008 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

Check That Chicken Nugget: It Might Just Be a Plant

by Andrea Sachs

Allison Don is not a paranoid eater, but when faced with dishes made with mock meat, the vegetarian occasionally has one of her carnivorous friends take the first bite — just to be certain it isn’t the real thing.

It may look like the real thing, but this hot-dog-like sausage is animal-free.
It may look like the real thing, but this hot-dog-like sausage is animal-free.
(Gerald Martineau – The Washington Post)

"You can’t tell sometimes," the 24-year-old Arlington resident said of the latest generation of imitation meats, a sample of which appeared in her "Chicken" Deluxe lunch at Java Green in Washington. "I wouldn’t be able to tell unless one of my friends tasted it, or I picked it apart."

As sales have grown, so has the intrigue about these plant-based meat substitutes, which strongly resemble butcher’s wares and fishermen’s daily catches. For instance, uninformed diners at the Vegetable Garden in Rockville might think that the main ingredient in the Hunan beef once grazed in verdant fields. Or that the "chicken" in Java Green’s ramen soup once clucked. Fake meats are masterful copycats: The "shrimp" are tinted pink and curl like apostrophes; "bacon" is marbled with white strips of yam masquerading as fat.

"It looks too real," said Terry Yuin, the 56-year-old native of Taiwan who runs Terry’s Healthy Food in Rockville, which sells to retail customers and supplies imitation meats to about 40 area restaurants, including Java Green and the Vegetable Garden. "A lot of people are scared."

Of course, some vegetarians might relish the idea of eating a pig’s foot made of soy protein; others, however, would rather starve than chomp on an ersatz appendage. Why, carnivores might ask, would someone who shies away from meat want to dine on a simulacrum of it? Why not just eat your veggies? It all depends on what kind of non-meat eater you are: philosophical or pragmatic.

Philosophical vegetarians, says Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, avoid meat for ethical reasons and prefer foods that taste and look like plant life. Conversely, pragmatic vegetarians love meat but not the nutritional pitfalls that come with it. "They want [vegetarian food] to taste like ground beef," Wansink said, "but without the animal fat."

For both types of non-meat eaters, flavor and texture are imperative. Diners with advanced palates will no longer settle for veggie burgers that resemble sun-baked mulch or tofu hot dogs as rubbery as erasers.

"Some of the fake meats are better than others: the chicken and the pork," said Per Milam, 24, a San Diego philosophy student, He was referring to mock meats in general, not his jobche noodles at Java Green."The shrimp is really bad," added Allison Don, his girlfriend, who works on the Hill. "It is made of yam and smells of stinky seafood."

While Buddhists in Asia have been dining on imitation meats for ages (per their harm-no-living-creatures diet), one of the earliest alternative meats to appear on Western shelves was the VegeBurger, created in 1982 by the English natural foods pioneer Gregory Sams. The healthful burger was made of wheat protein, sesame seeds, oats, soy protein and dehydrated vegetables: an innovative alternative to the ubiquitous beef patty.

More than two decades later, veggie burgers and their ilk no longer require explanation or apology. They are (almost) mainstream: In 2002, Burger King started serving the BK Veggie Burger nationwide, and some pro league sports stadiums sell veggie burgers. See, real men do eat fake meat.

To meet the rising demand for more salubrious cuisine, mock meats have been vastly improving and evolving, earning a place on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid (look under "Meat & Beans") and in the kitchens of many professional and home chefs. From 1992 to 2006, the Soyfoods Association of North America reported a spike in soy food sales from $300 million to $3.9 billion nationwide. Soy also received a boost in 1999, when the Food and Drug Administration approved the health claim that the protein reduces heart disease. A soy chicken a day. . . .

"More and more people are becoming open to eating meat alternatives," said Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University. "Plant-based protein has no cholesterol and is low in saturated fat." Two MorningStar Farms veggie sausage links, for instance, contain 0.5 gram of saturated fat, 9 grams of protein and no cholesterol. By comparison, an equivalent amount of beef sausage contains 5 grams of saturated fat, 8 grams of protein and 37 milligrams of cholesterol.

DJ Kim, owner of Java Green, which recently won a Most Progressive Restaurant Award from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says his customers have more than just their healthy hearts in mind when they dine sans meat. "People want to cut down on their meat consumption because they are concerned about E. coli, foot-and-mouth disease and the meat process," he said. "They are concerned about what they eat and where their food comes from." (About nine months after opening in June 2003, the cafe turned all-veg in an effort to "become more earth-friendly," Kim said.)

To be sure, unlike with many processed meats, the ingredients in the fake versions don’t require a chemist’s dictionary to decode. Most substitute meats are derived from one of three "meat analogs": soy protein, wheat gluten (seitan) or tofu. Gluten, the "white meat" of the veg world, is noted for its chewiness and dense texture, and it often appears in stews and beefy recipes. Soy protein is more malleable and easily wears many disguises: pork, chicken, fish, turkey, etc. As Yuin of Terry’s Healthy Food explains, the "chicken" patty can pass for poultry, beef, pork or black pepper steak. Tofu is best for scrambling, salads and stir fries.

"You can easily manipulate the taste," said Gail Naftalin, owner of Gail’s Vegetarian Catering in Wheaton. "You’re not trying to trick people; you’re just trying to create an end result that is extremely close to the original."

Naftalin readily incorporates alternative meats into her gourmet menu, which has been prepared for clients as diverse as the Mars candy company and the Humane Society of the United States. Her holiday offerings included petit "meat" loaf and barbecued spare ribs, and her standard menu features such culinary classics as boudin, pot roast and beef bourguignon — all prepared with seitan.

Vegebest, a California-based mock-meat manufacturer, enhances its products with spices and other ingredients in an effort to replicate the real-meat experience. For its "salmon," the company uses seaweed to suggest an ocean taste and carrot powder to re-create the pink flesh color. However, sometimes the embellishments veer toward the comical: A chicken breast with a cross-hatch anatomical design resembles toy poultry best served in a Fisher-Price kitchen, and the "bone" in the drumstick is actually a chopstick stub. Do you serve the protein popsicle as an entree or a dessert?

"It is easier to know the taste and texture of the [imitation meat], and how to cook it, if it is almost the same as the real one," explained Vegebest vice president Helen Ou when asked why mock meats are designed to approximate their full-blooded counterparts.

Yet newbies to the alt-meat world, or those cooking for wary pals and mates, might need some initial coaching in the kitchen. First lesson: Make friends with condiments, sauces and spices.

Naftalin sprinkles paprika, garlic and anise flavoring into many of her dishes. Blake advises cooks to "mimic the foods you are familiar with." She suggests dousing "meatballs" in tomato sauce, mixing soy crumbles into spaghetti sauce for pasta, or smothering a veg patty with salsa and low-fat cheese, popping it inside a whole-wheat pita and calling it a Mexican burger. Meanwhile, Wansink recommends marinating the faux meat, then dimming the lights. "It might be difficult at first for a beef-etarian," he said, "so you might need to disguise it."

Or you can always borrow the technique of Germaine Andino-Rexach. The 22-year-old medical assistant at a Virginia community college prepared tacos for his meat-loving roommates one night, substituting soy crumbles for ground beef. Only after they finished their meal did he admit the switch.

"They were like, ‘Ooh, that was so disgusting,’ " he said. Yet their plates were clean.

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Friday, 25 January, 2008 at 2:14 pm 3 comments

Eating As If the Climate Mattered

Changing what we eat can help alleviate one of the most serious global environmental problems.
by Bruce Friedrich

Last week in our nation’s capital, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) held a climate change conference focused on solutions to the problem of human-induced climate change. And in Paris the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, held a press conference to discuss “the importance of lifestyle choices” in combating global warming.

Notably, all food at the NCSE conference was vegan, and there were table-top brochures with quotes from the U.N. report on the meat industry, discussed more below. And the IPCC head, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri declared, as the AFP sums it up, “Don’t eat meat, ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper.”

The New York Times, also, seems to be jumping on the anti-consumption bandwagon. First they ran an editorial on New Year’s Day stating that global warming is “the overriding environmental issue of these times” and that Americans are “going to have to change [our] lifestyles…” The next day, they ran a superb opinion piece by Professor Jared Diamond about the fact that those of us in the developed world consume 32 times as many resources as people in the developing world and 11 times as much as China.

Diamond ends optimistically, stating that “whether we get there willingly or not, we shall soon have lower consumption rates, because our present rates are unsustainable.”

It is reasonable for all of us to review our lives and to ask where we can cut down on our consumption-because it’s necessary, and because living according to our values is what people of integrity do.

Last November, United Nations environmental researchers released a report that everyone who cares about the environment should review. Called “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” this 408-page thoroughly researched scientific report indicts the consumption of chickens, pigs, and other meats, concluding that the meat industry is “one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global” and that eating meat contributes to “problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”

The environmental problems of meat fill books, but the intuitive argument can be put more succinctly into two points:

  • A 135-pound woman will burn off at least 1,200 calories a day even if she never gets out of bed. She uses most of what she consumes simply to power her body. Similarly, it requires exponentially more resources to eat chickens, pigs, and other animals, because most of what we feed to them is required to keep them alive, and much of the rest is turned into bones and other bits we don’t eat; only a fraction of those crops is turned into meat. So you have to grow all the crops required to raise the animals to eat the animals, which is vastly wasteful relative to eating the crops directly.
  • It also requires many extra stages of polluting and energy-intensive production to get chicken, pork, and other meats to the table, including feed mills, factory farms, and slaughterhouses, all of which are not used in the production of vegetarian foods. And then there are the additional stages of gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing transportation of moving crops, feed, animals, and meat-relative to simply growing the crops and processing them into vegetarian foods.

So when the U.N. added it all up, what they found is that eating chickens, pigs, and other animals contributes to “problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity,” and that meat-eating is “one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

And on the issue of global warming, the issue the New York Times deems critical enough to demand that we “change [our] lifestyles” and for which Al Gore and the IPCC received the Nobel peace prize, the United Nations’ scientists conclude that eating animals causes 40 percent more global warming than all planes, cars, trucks, and other forms of transport combined, which is why the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook says that “refusing meat” is “the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint” [emphasis in original].

There is a lot of important attention paid to population, and that’s a critical issue too, but if we’re consuming 11 times as much as people in China and 32 times as much as people in the third world, then it’s not just about population; it’s also about consumption.

NCSE, IPPC, and the U.N. deserve accolades for calling on people to stop supporting the inefficient, fossil fuel intensive, and polluting meat industry. The head of the IPCC, who received the Nobel Prize with Mr. Gore and who held last week’s press conference in Paris, puts his money where his mouth is: He’s a vegetarian.

The NCSE’s all-vegan 3,000-person conference last week, also, sends positive signal that other environmentalists would be wise to listen to. Thus far, among the large environmental organizations only Greenpeace ensures that all official functions are vegetarian. Other environmental groups should follow suit.

It’s empowering really, when you think about it: By choosing vegetarian foods, we’re making compassionate choices that are good for our bodies, and we’re living our environmental values at every meal.

Find out more at, and find recipe tips, meal plans, and more at

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Friday, 25 January, 2008 at 1:57 pm 1 comment

TreeHugger’s Buy Green Guides


TreeHugger knows that we can’t shop or buy our way to global sustainability. While there are certainly lots of things you can do to help save the planet other than rushing out to grab the latest and greatest “green” product, we all still need to buy things. Sure, reusing, recycling and repurposing are all better eco-options than buying brand-new, but there comes a moment when your favorite shoes are finally worn beyond repair, and when you need to upgrade your work clothes, or kitchen utensils, or living room furniture, and we’re here to help you do it green.

What you’ll find here is a carefully-selected, curated list of five of the best options available to you that combine TreeHugger’s sleek, modern, non-hippie aesthetic with low-impact, earth-friendly designs and materials. They offer a quick, easy, hip way to shift your life in a greener direction today.

For quick, easy access at the stroke of a key and click of a mouse, they’re all be kept right here for your browsing convenience, ready and willing to assist you in your daily endeavors to live green. Dig in!


Laptop Computers


Office & Desk Chairs


Small Wheel Folding Bikes


Desktop Computers


Dining Tables


Sofas & Loveseats


Women’s Casual Shoes


Men’s Casual Shoes


Women’s Jeans


Men’s Jeans

There’s lots to come, so stay tuned for more guides for apparel, housewares, gadgets and more. In the meantime, click on over to our How to Go Green Guides to learn more about making your life greener today!

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Thursday, 24 January, 2008 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

The Observer Ethical Awards 2008

The Observer Ethical Awards

Who are the champions of the world?

Who has done the most to safeguard the planet in the past 12 months?

Lucy Siegle
The Observer

Welcome to the launch of the third Observer Ethical Awards, in association with Ecover. What started as a vague notion of highlighting efforts to progress social and environmental justice in the UK, seems to have somehow become a dynamic, growing, three-year-old fixture on the eco social calendar. It is equally thrilling and terrifying, especially when you look objectively at this year’s rather stellar celebrity panel including one supermodel, one A-list actor, one pop star and one England footballer among its number.

Green awards are no longer an anomaly. Since we started quite a few green gongs have begun to be handed out – predominantly in the corporate and marketing worlds. But the Observer Ethical Awards are not just about attaching a green tag, but rather environmental and social justice. For us, the two notions are deeply entwined. And the awards break across sectors and communities, acknowledging everyone from campaigning kids to fashion designers.

Gratifyingly, previous winners tell us this is the award that really boosted their campaign, project or business. In this way, the awards are instrumental in progressing ethical thinking and ideas in the UK. With this in mind, we launch a new category for 2008: the Jupiter Big Idea award which joins the three other bursaries on offer this year, designed to really get initiatives moving.

Given what’s at stake, the judging process should be daunting. But we deflect much of the pressure to you, relying on your votes and nominations to tell us who or what will and should make a difference to the future of our beleaguered planet.

The remainder of the responsibility is offset to a brilliantly expert panel – from eco designers to sustainability academics and eco architects – who have spent the majority of their professional lives (and probably most of their personal lives) mulling over eco footprints and development issues. In April our experts will present a shortlist to our celebrities over lunch at Andaz, the newly refurbished London hotel setting new standards for ecologically aware venues. The results will be announced in June 2008 in a special issue of the Observer Magazine. But for now, please get voting.

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Thursday, 24 January, 2008 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

The Hand: In The Devil’s Playground

PhotoshopCAFE - Video Game Cover 02

Solstice Creations pres. The Hand: In The Devil’s Playground
So, for the past three days or so, I’ve been working on this video game box art cover design for PhotoshopCAFE. See, the catch is, we put together some fancy artwork based around one of Adobe Photoshop’s wide variety of tools and we might just win a shot at the grand prize (which, I  must say, is pretty damn grand). Runner-Up prizes are pretty spectacular too. I still find the whole thing hard to believe but I figured, hey, what the hell? What, you wanna play too?


Thursday, 24 January, 2008 at 4:13 am Leave a comment

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Misadventures Of A Vagrant T-Girl

There's plenty fun to be had. From the Cayman Islands, to London, to Phoenix and back again, Silky's been there, done that. But life's for the living and I ain't dead yet. Making vegans look cool, trannies sound sexy and delivering shit hot Electro is my deal. Loving my beautiful wife, nurturing my baby boy Phoenix and making my small mark on this jaded world of post-consumerism is my mantra. Friends, welcome. Guests, indulge. There's plenty fun to be had.


Birthdate: 19th February, 1983 Nationality: Caymanian Star Sign: Aquarius/Pisces Orientation: Bisexual Diet: Vegan Occupation: Graphic Designer WiiMail:
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